“Little things are never little” – me
Last week I attended my first derby event as an insider. And by “insider” I mean “someone who knew people and was there to help in some capacity and not just be a spectator.” I got a lanyard with a badge that named me as “Usher.” Total rockstar stuff. I was going to ush the shit out of some people. There would never again be such an exemplary display of ushing.
I was helping to set up the merch table and they were putting out t-shirts. This is one of those things that is inevitably a sore spot with me. I see people wearing cool shirts all the time and I know that there is absolutely no fucking way that they make that shirt in my size. They’re t-shirts. For people. Not covers. For cars.
However, I have been working, and I was one of the winners of the Pretty Sneaky, Sis DietBet challenge, so maybe, just maybe, this would be a change.
Trying not to let the blend of nervousness and unavoidable disappointment show up in my voice, I ask Knight Glider (I’m getting in the habit of calling them by their derby names as is the custom of the people) what size the shirts go up to. 2XL he answers.
Son. Of. A. Bitch.
I guess I should have expected that, cool shirts almost never go higher. I sighed, smiled and said I’d be back in a few months.
We continue setting up stuff and I keep looking at the shirts on the table. They look big on the table, but to a guy who has worn 6XL, 2XL is dreaming the impossible dream.
We finish setting up and I’m staring at the table. I grab a fistful of the shirt that I’m wearing, a 3XL. This was probably a telling sign, but it didn’t hit me as such. I ask Knight Glider if I can try it on, and he gives me the green light. I pick it up. For reasons I don’t really understand, I don’t take it to the restroom or somewhere private. I start wriggling into it on top of my other shirt.
Much to my surprise, it fit. Maybe a little snug, but not like the sausage casing I expected whose seams would be obliterated if I took a deep breath. This is not to say that I was not without my insecurities. I asked Knight Glider how it looked, my voice now undoubtedly filled with everything I tried to hide before. He approves, although I think that he’d have said it looked fine even if it rolled up like a half tee.
So this was pretty exciting. 2XL is kind of a big deal. First, I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve worn a 2XL since high school. Honestly, I don’t even remember wearing them then. Second, 2XL is also the magical threshold where I can get a lot more cool shirts. I know in the other post I got a few, but the difference between what is available in 2XL and 3XL is startling.
The next morning I want to send a pic to one of my biggest supporters, ’cause I’m honestly pretty jazzed about this. I take a horrible picture and send it to her.
I then remind myself that I keep saying that I’m going to get more pictures of myself and quit hiding from cameras, but I never actually do that. I take the safe way out and upload it Facebook where it is warmly received by a crowd of people who pretty much have to say that it’s good.
My friend texts me back that I need to put this picture side by side with my fountain picture. I ask her if she’s done that, she confirms. I don’t do it immediately. Even in a moment of elation, I’m still very reserved about patting myself on the back. I’ve got a long way to go still, and I don’t care much for being told I look great when it’s almost assuredly followed by a silent “in comparison to where you were.” Especially when I don’t see myself how dramatic the difference that everyone else sees. Telling my friend and supporter Sara about the cognitive dissonance that resulted from this, she told me “You don’t realize when you do it, you know? You look the same to yourself every day until one day you don’t.” And she’s absolutely right.
This is exactly what happened when I got out the dreaded fountain pic. I looked at one, I looked at the other. I’ve felt the tremors of “who is that?” before, but it’s never a feeling you get used to. This one was bigger than most.
It was time to take the next step and get over myself to post it to the place where I didn’t have the same protection as I did on my Facebook page. Admittedly, my three readers are probably inclined to cheer, but it’s the internet, and I can be seen by anyone, anywhere (in theory). It’s not as scary as it was the first time, but that’s not to say that it’s comfortable.
So here we are. Where I was, presumably at my heaviest, and where I am as of a few days ago. Still a “morbidly obese” giant (can I say for a second just how much I HATE that descriptor?) but not the same guy in both pictures.
Here are the real kickers though, and the reason I decided it was enough to scribble out some words about.
First, I know that it’s all kinds of fucked up to say this about oneself, but it’s nothing if not honest. This picture, terrible as it is, marks the very first time in my life where I’ve looked at a picture of myself and thought “yeah, I can see how someone could be physically attracted to him” I’m not overly interested in the analyzing of this moment, what came before it and what comes after it. It’s just a landmark that it even happened in the first place.
Second, I’m earnestly excited about some future pictures. Namely derby action shots. Which are a long ways away, admittedly. It’s going to take a bit for me to be ready to hit and be hit, but the second I have my wheels, I plan on spending more time on them than off them. I’m positive my first shots will involve me flying through the air after being hit by someone half my size. Or being the instigator of an eight guy pile up. Maybe even me staring in glassy eyed confusion at the bone protruding from my leg.
And I couldn’t be more excited about it.